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What Living With Long-Haul COVID-19 Really Feels Like

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It was just three months ago when I was convinced I was living in a “new normal.” Back in August 2021, I caught the COVID-19 Delta variant and for more than seven months now, I’ve been fighting long-haul COVID-19.

People seem to think that only your first COVID-19 symptoms can send you to the emergency room. This isn’t the case. Long-haul COVID-19 just about eradicated me, and I’m still having significant hang-ups in my recovery.

For months, I was struggling with dizziness and nausea, several headaches a day, fatigue I wouldn’t wish on anybody, chest pains that went from dull to unbearable in the blink of an eye, and as of December, a shutdown of my digestive system.

One day, the function of my digestive tract froze up, and I couldn’t use the restroom. It was December 4 when it started, though before this, I was having instances of utter discomfort, constipation, and inability to urinate. By then, my health took such a drastic turn that I thought I had a kidney stone. I knew this couldn’t be the case when I found myself in a diaper. My symptoms were troubling.

Before I go into more detail, I first must mention that I know about the challenges of dealing with health conditions. I have heart disease, lung disease, fibromyalgia, postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS), depression, and anxiety. They are all associated with a genetic syndrome I live with, 22Q11.2 Deletion Syndrome, which is commonly known as DiGeorge Syndrome.

I’m at high risk for COVId-19, and these risks maximized in intensity and frequency since I’ve started combatting long COVID-19. On December 4, I found myself nearly in septic shock, and my kidneys and liver also shut down.

The only explanation I received from doctors was this was a long-haul COVID-19 case in the works. But I could’ve never prepared for what I was about to endure. It was alarming being told that my digestive system had frozen up, and I could go through this again. I was so constipated that I was losing feeling in the lower half of my body — starting just below my waist.

Somehow, I made it through without ending up in septic shock. I knew, though, that the ramifications of my illness would impact me to a stunning degree. Long-haul COVID-19 has impacted me already. It’s the middle of March 2022, and I am still experiencing digestive system stalls. I also still have difficulty breathing, and I discovered that I may have an autoimmune disease as a result of my COVID-19 breakthrough infection.

I’ve had to accept that I may struggle with symptoms related to long-haul COVID-19 for some time. I’m somebody who is a realistic thinker, and I personally don’t believe that positive or negative thinking has any importance on any outcome. I do meditative breathing when I’m experiencing intense physical pain and lose functionality in my body systems.

Meditation, yoga, stretching, breathing, and being active when I am able has helped me — but not completely. Right now, I’m focusing on internal healing — treating these symptoms and flare-ups from the inside out. For three months straight, I’ve increased my Vitamin B12, D-3, Omega-3 and Omega-6, and zinc levels, and I’ve noticed changes in my overall energy.

On those days when I must honor my body and simply surrender to daytime sleepiness and fatigue when my body wants to sleep but my brain doesn’t, I give my body what it needs. I’ve always listened to my body and acted accordingly during these times, and this has been my approach to wellness.

Getty image by Vasil Dimitrov.

Originally published: March 25, 2022
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